Story by Hannah Keisker
First-year acting major Madeline Cramer created the sexual harassment event “Healing One Hand at a Time” after she heard about a sign in a fraternity president’s room that condoned sexual harassment.
The sign read, “Sexual harassment in this area will not be reported, but it will be graded.”
Cramer said she heard about the sign from a friend during recruitment weekend. She asked her friend to take a picture of the sign and send it to her.
Cramer brought the picture to the head of Greek Life and the dean of students, Sentwali Bakari.
“I said I want something done about this because students need to know about this. I would like not only a public apology from this individual, but also confirmation that there’s going to be action taken to make sure the sign’s removed,” Cramer said. “I wasn’t really sure what to demand of the administration, but I was hoping they were going to do the right thing and take some action about it.”
Cramer partnered with Student Activists for Gender Equality (SAGE) on the event, “Healing One Hand at a Time.”
Kylie Rush, a senior magazine major and a president of SAGE, said she helped Cramer put up posters around campus and recruited of SAGE to help with the event.
Rush said she thinks sexual harassment is a problem Drake tends to cover up.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily talked about as much as it should be. I do think it exists. I just think it’s not as prevalent as you might see in a bigger university,” Rush said.
The event had multiple booths set up such as Planned Parenthood as well as vocal performances, talk-back skits and speeches and presentations by Bakari and Becky Parish from Iowa Family Planning Council.
Cramer said she thought the event had a better turnout than she had originally anticipated because it’s a topic that people often aren’t comfortable discussing.
First-year musical theater major Adam Dooley had a vocal performance at the event.
Dooley said he was impressed by the amount of men at the event.
“Instead of teaching, ‘Don’t get raped,’ they should be teaching don’t rape — particularly to men. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed, not only here but everywhere else,” Dooley said.
Cramer said we cannot combat rape culture if we condone leaders to hold signs that convey these messages.
“It’s scary being like, ‘This is wrong.’ And how many people have seen that sign? It sucks. Like me, being a first-year student, has to be the one to bring it to people’s attention. This is not right. You need to do something about this,” Cramer said. “I think that action was taken to remove the sign, but it just shows that there’s an inherent compliancy about this topic.”
Dooley said he thinks Cramer is brave for creating the event.
“I would just say that not only things like this, but a lot of the times people complain about problems around the world and around campus and around the country, state, whatever it is. And really the only way you can change it is by being proactive about it as opposed to just complaining,” Dooley said. “So I would just say, if you want something to change, the only person that can change it is yourself.”